COMMENT: Criminals vandalising transformers should be flashed out
BULAWAYO which is supposed to be pumping 20ML of water per day from Epping Forest and Rochester aquifer in Nyamandlovu, is now pumping only 3ML as a result of vandalism of transformers and theft of copper cables.
Government has pumped in more than $20 million on drilling boreholes and putting up the electricity infrastructure which include transformers. Following the vandalism of transformers and theft of copper cables, more than 60 000 residents are now being subjected to stringent water rationing as the supplies from Nyamandlovu have been drastically reduced.
A high-powered delegation of Government Ministers on Wednesday visited Nyamandlovu to assess the extent of the damage caused by vandalism of the power infrastructure and how it has impacted on water supplies to the city.
Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement Minister Dr Anxious Masuka who was leading the delegation, said there is an urgent need to enhance security to protect the power infrastructure.
He said 17 transformers have been vandalised and what is disturbing is that as soon as the transformers are replaced, the criminals strike again.
The boreholes at Rochester and Epping Forest in Nyamandlovu are meant to augment the city’s water supplies and are therefore a stopgap measure as Government is working on the long-term project which is the Lake Gwayi-Shangani and the pipeline which will bring water to Bulawayo.
We want to commend Government for promptly responding to Bulawayo City Council’s appeal for assistance to improve its water supplies and the challenge now is for residents of Bulawayo and Nyamandlovu to join hands to fight vandalism of infrastructure meant to service them.
The criminals vandalising transformers and stealing copper cables live within communities and should be flashed out. Government can put physical barriers to protect the infrastructure but as long as people do not take ownership of the infrastructure, criminals will always find their way.
Police on their part should increase patrols in the area especially at night. There might be a need to engage private security companies to also provide security during the day and at night.
Government cannot continue spending money on replacing vandalised transformers hence the need to tighten security.
We want to once again urge residents to assist the police in policing their area and protecting infrastructure which service them.